Quick, fresh and delicious street food has a particular appeal to every traveler. Tasting street food like a local is an important way for us to experience different cultures. Cambodia’s street food is not as famous and varied as its neighbour Vietnam, but if you experience Cambodian street food firsthand, you’re likely to find its unique charm. Cambodia’s street food provides a unique perspective that allows us to gain an in-depth understanding of Cambodia’s food culture.
Siem Reap is Cambodia’s most important tourist city, with a long history and culture, beautiful natural scenery and a relatively light consumer burden. The city’s tourism industry has grown rapidly in recent years and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Pizza Company and KFC can be easily found here, but the city’s street food seems to be more popular with tourists from all over the world.
In Pub Street, Siem Reap Night Market and near the famous Angkor Wat, you can easily find plenty of vendors selling a variety of street foods. These places are always filled with tourists.
You don’t have to worry too much about the food safety of these roadside stalls, most of the food is made in front of the customers. Besides, if you want to try some authentic local street food more easily, it’s a good idea to find a good guide.
Several Popular Street Food in Siem Reap
Here are six delicious and popular Cambodian street foods that you should try.
Kralan – Bamboo Sticky Rice with Black Beans
Kralan, rice in bamboo, is probably Cambodia’s most famous traditional snack. This snack is a kind of sticky rice cooked in bamboo, and you need to split the bamboo to get the rice. The rice used for this preparation is a special kind of fragrant rice, mainly from the city of Battambang in the west of the country.
The rice is cooked with a mixture of coconut milk, grated coconut flesh, and other ingredients such as black beans. Rice and ingredients are stuffed into bamboo and roasted on fire, and the smoky flavor makes this slightly savoury snack taste more unique.
According to locals, ancient Khmer soldiers would take the Kralan on patrols, and nowadays you can easily find this popular street food in the plenty of places of Cambodia. At the entrance to the Angkor Wat, there are also many vendors selling the Kralan, and you can buy this typical local treat for less than $1.
Price: Usually 1 USD, the cheapest 0.5 USD
Where to find: Inside the Angkor Archaeological Park, and ask your driver take you to find it
Coconut Ice Cream – One of the Most Popular Desserts in Cambodia
Coconuts are probably the most common fruit in hot and humid Cambodia, and you can easily find vendors selling fresh coconuts on the streets of Siem Reap. Coconut is a raw material for many traditional Cambodian dishes and street food, and coconut ice cream is a good example. The shell of a fresh coconut is shaved as a bowl, with 3 scoops of ice cream added to it, and then sprinkled with pieces of fresh coconut flesh, one of the most popular desserts in Cambodia is finished.
A base coconut ice cream costs $1.25, and if you need more diverse flavors, there will be some difference in the price.
If you have free time to walk the streets of Siem Reap, perhaps this delicious and affordable coconut ice cream will help you cool down in the hot summer heat.
Price: 1.25 USD
Where to find: Roadsides of the city’s residential areas, and local markets
Grilled Bananas – Warm and a Little Gooey
Bananas are a common ingredient in Cambodian cuisine, which seems hard to spot in other parts of the world. There are many kinds of bananas in Cambodia, of different sizes, from yellow to green and even red. On the streets of Siem Reap, you’ll always find vendors selling bananas, which are incredibly cheap.
Grilling a banana sounds a bit surprising, and you might think it won’t taste good, but the opposite is true. Grilled bananas are warm, the outside is a little crunchy, and the inside is softer and a little gooey because of the heat, which tastes very different from unprocessed ones.
If you’ve only eaten bananas directly, you’re missing out on the great potential of this delicious fruit, in Cambodia, try five grilled bananas for just $0.50.
Price: 0.5 USD per skewer
Where to find: Local Markets in Siem Reap
Fruit Shake – Combination of Fresh Fruit, Ice and Condensed Milk
Fruit shake is basically a combination of fresh fruit, ice and condensed milk. This cool drink looks like fruit smoothie, but it’s different from smoothie.
Fruit shake vendors can be found everywhere on the streets of Siem Reap, offering very fresh and inexpensive fruit shakes, usually priced at $1-2. As the main ingredient, the fruits can be mango, apple, coconut and pear, etc., but mango shake is the most popular option.
It’s hard to resist a freshly blended fruit shake. They’re sweet, cool, and packed with nutritional ingredients. During your trip to Cambodia, fruit shakes are well worth a try, which will add to the enjoyment of your trip and keep you healthy.
Price: 1 USD
Where to find: Both the sides of Siem Reap River, Old Market, and Night Market
Lort Cha – Cambodian Fried Rice Noodles
Lort Cha, also known as Cambodian fried rice noodles, is basically a combo of rice noodles and fried eggs. “Lort” means rice noodles, and “Cha” is stir fry. The noodles used for this dish are special, shorter, thicker and wider than regular ones. Made of short rice noodles, various vegetables such as bean sprouts, onions, chives, this street food then is mixed with grilled beef and finally topped with an egg.
As the main ingredient of Lort Cha, rice noodles are very common in Cambodia. The process of making rice noodles in the traditional way is complicated, but the taste of rice noodles can be guaranteed. First, the rice needs to be soaked for about three hours before being ground into a paste. People boil this paste to get the dough, which is then pressed into noodles.
By the Siem Reap River, you can easily find lots of Lort Cha vendors. This is a classic street food option. Add garlic, chili and soy sauce before eating, making it the perfect dinner during your stay in Cambodia.
Price: 1-3 USD
Where to find: Both the sides of Siem Reap River, local markets, roadsides of the city’s residential areas, and around the airport
Fresh Sugarcane Juice – Popular Drink at the Entrance to Angkor Wat
There are many local vendors at the entrance to the Angkor Wat. Drink vendors are popular because of the large number of tourists who come here to watch the sunset and the long wait that has left those who don’t carry enough water thirsty.
As a refreshing way to cool off the heat, fresh sugarcane juice squeezed out of sugarcane sticks is the most common beverage here. Sugarcane juice is a tropical sweet drink with a slightly grainy texture and is very popular in South-East Asia, where sugarcane is grown commercially.
The process of making sugarcane juice is simple, the vendor puts the sugarcane in a machine, which presses and squeeze out the juice, and then add a dash of lemon and ice, it’s done.
Such a simple production process, but the taste of the extracted sugarcane juice is very unusual! Yummy taste! The taste of sugarcane itself is unmatched by a variety of synthetic sweet drinks.
However, there is a problem, that is, the health situation is worrying. To reduce the amount of time customers wait, sugarcane sticks have been peeled in advance, which is why they look yellow rather than brown. However, the entrance to Angkor Wat is full of dirt roads, a breeze blows, and the dust can make it difficult for you to open your eyes. So it’s a question of how much sand there is in the sugarcane juice here.
Price: One dollar per cup
Where to find: The entrance to Angkor Wat
Where to Eat Street Food in Siem Reap
In Siem Reap, the places where you can find a large number of street vendors, mainly divided into the following areas.
Both Sides of the Siem Reap River
Siem Reap River is a small river that flows through the city of Siem Reap, which offers some places to sit and rest, as well as walking areas up to several hundred meters long.
There are parkways on both sides of the Siem Reap River. Many temples and markets are located near the river. In many points, bridges connect both sides of the river. The famous Old Market and Pub Street are located on the west side of the river, while Angkor Night Market is on the east side of the river. Whether you are going towards the Angkor Enterprise or planning to go shopping at a local market, you’ll be driving along the side of the Siem Reap River. This is the real heart of the small city of Siem Reap.
On the side of the road along the Siem Reap River, street food carts are lined up with a variety of local snacks. There are many kinds of street foods here, such as Fruit Shakes, Fried rice, Fried noodles, Barbecues, Pancakes, Coconut cakes, and more. The arrangement of these food carts isn’t random, but very regular, for example, next to the fried rice vendor, often there will be vendors that selling kebabs and fruit juice. This area, both sides of the Siem Reap River (including the Old Market and Night Market), is the place with the most street vendors in the whole of Siem Reap City.
Around Siem Reap Airport
Siem Reap International Airport is small and not far from the main part of the city. Due to the large number of tourists, there are many mobile food carts gathered around the airport. Most of the vendors in this place do not provide tables and stools, and people sit on straw mats on the ground to eat.
Roadsides of the City’s Residential Areas
Siem Reap’s main residential area is far from the Siem Reap River in the heart of the city, and there are many vendors selling street food on the roadsides here. There are very few tourists here, and it is a place where locals spend, so if you want to experience the locals’ diet, it is a good idea to come here.
At the Entrance to Angkor Wat and Inside the Angkor Park
At the entrance to Angkor Wat, there are a large number of tuk-tuk drivers waiting for costumers, and it is also a gathering place for many street vendors selling a variety of snacks. Kralan and sugarcane juice can be easily found here. In addition, inside Angkor Park, there are some food and beverage street vendors, but they are small in number and scattered in location.